More than 60 years after gradating from medical school, Patricia Conard, ’53 MD, spoke with students about her experience as a woman in medicine at a luncheon hosted by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
Rachel Ruderman, a first-year medical student and co-president of the AMWA, said she enjoyed having the chance to connect with an alumna and role model who excelled as a female physician.
“We invited Dr. Conard to speak so our class can of learn more about what it’s like to be a woman in the medical field and gain a historical perspective on women in medicine and how to advance ourselves in the profession,” she said.
Dr. Conard gave an overview of her education as a pre-medical student at Northwestern University before enrolling in the medical school. She spoke to students about balancing a career and family life, saying, “it’s a difficult balance, but it can be done.”
Dr. Conard also shared anecdotes about making house calls during her 20 years in private practice and discussed changes that she has witnessed in the medical profession including the increase in technologies and treatments.
“My greatest professional achievement was teaching residents and helping them understand what is important, outside of diagnosis and treatment of patients,” she said.
Her advice to students was to find their niche and where they feel happy during their clinical clerkships.
“If you like science and solving problems then medicine is for you,” she said. “The technologies you have today have led to cures we’d never have dreamed of, but the personal aspects of medicine seem to have changed. A career in medicine is rewarding intellectually, and on a personal level. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.”
First-year medical student Rosemary Hines found Dr. Conard’s talk intriguing.
“It’s amazing to hear from someone who had a full career as a woman physician when she was only one of a few women in her class year, when our class is made up of more women than men,” said Hines. “It was interesting to hear about the shift she’s seen in medicine, where the traditional art of medicine has disappeared and how heavily we now rely on technology. It’s a reminder to treat our patients as people.”